‘Perhaps this would be a good place to start?’ I said.
She looked around.
She was not impressed. ‘Not much of a page is it?’
‘What do you mean? A page is a page. They all look like this until something is written on them.
She didn’t seem convinced. She gave me a look. That kind of look.
She glanced up towards the previous sentence. ‘What’s that supposed to mean?’
‘What it said.’
‘That kind of look? Really? She shook her head.
‘I can fix it in the next draft.’
She gave me another look.
‘Why, it gets us down the page. It gets us towards something happening and gets you doing something.’
‘And what’s that mean?’
‘What’s what mean?’
‘Me doing something? As far as I can see it is me doing all the work here. You are just sitting there typing it.’ She looked away muttering something under her breath.
‘And stop that,’ she said. ‘Stop making me sound like some whiny cow. If I have something to say I’ll say it to you face, here on the page, in dialogue.’ She paused, hands on hips. ‘And that’s another thing….’
‘You haven’t bothered to give me a name yet.’
‘I haven’t had chance. You went off on one before I could even give a bit of description.’
‘Off on one? What’s that even supposed to mean? You’re supposed to be the writer here.’
‘What’s that supposed to mean?’
Sandra pointed up towards the preceding paragraphs. ‘Just look at it. Hardly Jane Austen, is it?’
‘As I said, it’s just the first draft.’
‘And the last, if I have anything to do wi…. Hang on, where does this Sandra business come from? Do I look like a Sandra?’
‘I don’t know I haven’t had a chance to describe you yet. Anyway, what’s wrong with Sandra? It’s nice name.’
‘Nice? I don’t think I’m meant to be nice… am I?’ Sandra looked around the page. ‘Anyway, what sort of story is this going to be? Romance? Thriller? Science fiction? Obviously it can’t be fantasy if I’m Sandra. And with a name like that it is hardly likely to be erotica, is it?’
‘Sandra is a nice name. I had an auntie called Sandra.’
‘That’s just it. Sandra is an auntie’s name.’
‘It could be erotica,’ I muttered remembering about Auntie Sandra – she wasn’t a real auntie of course. It was a summer’s day during that endless hot summer of my late teenage years. I was….
‘Go on,’ Sandra pushed a few words from a previous paragraph into a heap on the left hand margin and sat down on it. ‘Tell me more.’
‘There’s not much to tell. You know… teenage boy, older woman. I was doing some gardening for her.’
‘What do you think?’
‘Auntie Sandra? With you?’ Sandra laughed.
‘I was younger, obviously. I was quite good looking then.’
Sandra was silent for a while, playing with a loose conjunction that had fallen from her heap of words. She looked up at me. ‘I could be Auntie Sandra… if you like.
‘If you describe what you were like when you were young. Just a broad outline… so I can see if you’re telling the truth about being good looking then.’
‘All right,’ I said. ‘But shall we start on a new page?’
Auntie Sandra gave me a very different look, and then nodded. ‘Okay.’